Law Enforcement Officers Request Funding - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Law Enforcement Officers Request Funding

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Crime is up in western North Dakota, and nearly every law enforcement agency in the area is now responding to more calls than ever before. Earlier this year, the legislature approved $16.6 million to help those agencies buy the equipment and fund their operations to respond to those calls. Now, those agencies are making their pitches for their piece of the pie.

Fifty-six different entities have put in requests totaling nearly $11 million.

"We need some of everything," says Williams County Sheriff Scott Busching.

Busching is no stranger to the toll the oil boom is taking on agencies. He wants more than $950,000 of grant money, to which Williams County will add another $300,000, to fund the biggest needs.

"Vehicles are kind of a priority for us.  Our roads are so rough on them, they don't last like they used to.  We're putting tens of thousands of miles on vehicles we normally wouldn't," says Busching.

He also wants money for a pricey new radio system that won't leave dead spots in the county.

"There were places in Williams County that didn't have full radio coverage, and it wasn't that big of a deal before the boom because there was nobody was there.  We took very few calls, and when we did, we just sort of winged it.  That's not the case anymore," says Busching.

The biggest funding requests are coming from areas hardest hit by the boom. But even those on the outskirts of the oil activity are seeing an impact, and are hoping for some relief.

"We are set right on the Highway 85 corridor.  The traffic has picked up.  Residual on the way.  We've definitely seen an impact," says Charles Headley.

Headley is the chief of a three-person department that's about to add another officer.

"Our main objective is patrol units.  We're asking for two vehicles.  Also need computers and body armor for officers," says Headley.

His requests total just $87,000 of grant money, but every request is being heard by one of three committees, which will then all meet and make a recommendation to Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Even though there is less money being requested than what is ultimately available, Stenehjem says they're still looking at the requests to make sure they are actually what is needed.

"Part of what I want to encourage is a regional approach to law enforcement efforts so it's not one county, one city looking at what it is they need but to be looking at things on kind of a regional basis so we're all working together," says Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

Busching, who is also part of the committee, says he's seeing a lot of that go on already.

Stenehjem says there will be money left over after this round of grants, so he anticipates a second round being held either later this year, or early next year.


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